Ramping Territory Revenue in Strategic Account Selling Using Intent Data
To date, strategic account executives (AEs) have had only two rather blunt instruments with which to pursue prospecting in their territories: “qualified” lead follow-up, which is low volume and imprecise, and cold prospecting, which is even less productive. Both approaches lead sellers to a lot of dead ends. They reach out and nothing’s there. When the person’s right, it’s often the wrong time. These tools continue to fail as ways to help AEs proactively prioritize their account coverage. As a result, their prospecting is highly inefficient. And in the end, strategic AEs tend to allocate too much time to a few of their accounts and too little time to others.
As such, this becomes a problem for sales managers as well. Even consistent quota attainment performance with ineffective tools delivers less revenue from these territories than it could. To maximize revenue capture from these territories, sales managers need a better way to see the real opportunities in a territory. And then they need to inspire their AEs to take advantage of this foresight.
In a recent webinar, John Steinert, CMO at TechTarget, met with Nancy Nardin, founder of Smart Selling Tools, to discuss the challenges facing strategic sellers and their managers. Here are three productivity challenges they outlined along with how purchase intent data can be used both by management and strategic sellers to resolve them.
#1 – Limited Insight into Demand-Oriented Account Activity
To secure their commitments, AEs commonly over-attend to the accounts and deals they’re already close to signing. This natural behavior can lead to dramatic coverage reductions elsewhere in their territory. As a result, in the same timeframe, they’re letting other opportunities get by them.
Thus, to improve overall strategic sales yields, sales managers should look to introduce tools and approaches that help balance and guide coverage more effectively. Intent data delivers here by both increasing visibility into accounts and providing specific guidance on best next actions.
#2 – Choosing the Right Entry Points
With multiple products to sell, when prospecting, a strategic rep must decide when to lead with what and to whom. If they choose incorrectly, they risk fumbling an outreach – and even losing an opportunity.
Intent data removes guesswork. With real intent data at the contact level, sellers know exactly what solution each individual prospect is focused on and who is on the buying team. Armed with this insight into how an account is seeking to address its business challenges, AEs can avoid false starts and even bypass costly basic discovery. The initial engagement process becomes more about verification and deepening.
#3 – Potential and Plans vs. Reality in the Field
In planning, sales managers obviously hope AEs will cover all their assigned accounts. This is especially true with strategic assignments because each account has so much potential. But when plans become reality, human nature and quota take over. Coverage patterns evolve based on each individual rep’s success. And since real opportunities are perishable – they begin and end within a short period of time – they are easily missed. Of course, any given opportunity can only be managed if it is seen, acknowledged and logged in the system. So, as quarters role out and quota is retired, the gap between a territory’s full potential and the revenue captured in the period continues to grow. Opportunities are missed, pipelines are less healthy than they could be, and revenue is left on the table.
Quality intent data can alter this equation significantly. By coupling the insight it provides with the right coaching, sales managers can more dynamically align their reps’ coverage behavior to real opportunities and total territory potential. Intent data gives reps better peripheral vision into real demand activity across their territories. By understanding what’s in intent data, sales managers can better work with AEs on a more agile coverage model – one that captures more demand as it takes shape.
Specialized for the sales and marketing needs of enterprise tech vendors, TechTarget’s unique intent data provides critical detail at the opt-in prospect level. For your strategic sellers, it identifies the buying teams they should engage as buyers’ journeys begin. Like a highly sensitive radar screen with a view across all the accounts in a strategic rep’s territory, our Priority Engine™ platform shows who to reach out to and exactly what they care about. For both strategic sellers and their management, it sets the stage for dramatic improvement in pipeline health and overall yield across critical territories.
To find out more about how opt-in prospect-level intent can improve strategic sales productivity download the full e-book or talk to your TechTarget account rep.
b2b purchase intent data, field sales optimization, intent-driven sales, quota attainment, sales enablement, sales intelligence, strategic account revenue, strategic account selling, strategic accounts